Senator Edward Brooke, Barbara Walters wrote that her affair with Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke almost ended both their careers.
Brooke, shown here in 1966, was the first black member of the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction. In a sizzling new memoir, Barbara Walters reveals she had a passionate affair with a married senator – and dishes on Star Jones’ “lies” and Rosie O’Donnell’s divalike antics.
Walters, 78, writes in her book, “Auditions,” that the affair with former Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke in the 1970s almost ended both their careers.
At the time, the twice-divorced Walters was a rising television news star and co-host of the “Today” show. When her lover, who’s now 88, told the newswoman she was the oldest woman he had ever been with, she wanted to say – but never did – “Oh yeah? Well you are the blackest man I have ever been with,” Walters writes.
Brooke, the first black member of the U.S. Senate since Reconstruction, was so in love with Walters he told his wife he wanted a divorce.
Enraged, his wife tried to reveal the affair to the National Enquirer, Walters writes. A phone call from a worried friend reminding Walters that Brooke was up for reelection the next year and that her job could be in jeopardy persuaded Walters to call it quits.
“I slowly began asking myself if we could ever be married. Would such a marriage destroy his career? Would it destroy mine?” Walters wonders in the book.
Walters is also candid about her dicey relationship with former “The View” co-host Jones. When Jones refused to admit publicly that she had gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, her co-workers were forced to lie for her.
“Joy [Behar], in particular, resented having to go along with a lie that implied all one needed to do was situps and ingest one cookie instead of two,” Walters says.
Jones’ downfall came when she publicized her lavish wedding to Al Reynolds on the show and accepted free gifts for the nuptials in return for promoting the stores on-air.
The wedding, Walters says, turned Jones from the most popular person on the show to the most loathed.
That’s when ABC decided not to renew her contract and Jones gave an interview to People magazine saying she had been fired to make room for O’Donnell.
“Star seemed to have a difficult time finding another job. I still feel it might have been easier for her to find a new position if she had left the program in the graceful way we had suggested,” Walters writes.
Walters says the show probably never would have reached out to O’Donnell if Jones had remained on the program because there was such bad blood between the two women.
The network was worried that O’Donnell would be too “volatile” a personality, but Walters vouched for her and lobbied to get her on the show.
The tides soon turned against O’Donnell, too, as O’Donnell quickly became a diva on and off the set, Walters says.
“The premise of ‘The View’ is that of a team working together, but for Rosie it was more like Diana Ross and the Supremes, as little by little she took over,” Walters says.
Members of the crew were so fed up with the comedian that they threatened to boycott the show’s Christmas party, Walters writes.
O’Donnell quickly amped up ratings by creating a feud with Donald Trump.
“If the result of the Trump feud was higher ratings, it also meant that Rosie seemed to be enjoying feuds,” Walters writes.
O’Donnell was livid that Walters didn’t come to her defense against Trump.
“To my amazement she angrily berated me in the dressing room for not defending her enough,” Walters says.
O’Donnell left the show soon after, informing Walters by e-mail she wouldn’t be returning.